Ok, so you want to practice karate. What should you expect?
Karate is a Japanese martial art based primarily around using the arms and legs to block, punch and kick. The study of martial arts, particularly in Japan, is considered not only learning how to defend yourself, but how to improve one’s character. In fact through learning self-defense, one learns how to avoid fighting.
Your instructors are members of Shotokan Karate of America (SKA).
They do not earn a living from practicing or teaching karate. We do not sell belts or uniforms. We do not charge money for tests. Your instructors teach because they believe that the art they are practicing is a worthwhile pursuit; and having experienced many of the benefits associated with the practice of a martial art, wish to pass it on to the next generation.
Karate practice is a gift. You cannot buy it. It is given freely by your seniors.
Karate can make you stronger both mentally and physically. Karate can teach you discipline and help you develop physical coordination. Karate can help you with your physical fitness, but only if you practice consistently for an extended period of time. Ideally, karate should be a lifelong endeavor.
Practicing karate is much like learning to play a musical instrument. Imagine going to a music lesson one week, and not picking up your instrument until the next lesson. How can you have improved? In fact, you will likely have forgotten the lesson! You will progress faster if you practice on your own. In fact, it is expected. Malcolm Gladwell describes in his book “Outliers”, which describes high achievers, that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill. If you only practice 2-hours a week, it would take you almost 100 years to become proficient in the most basic of skills. Therefore, we encourage all of our students to practice at home as often as practical.
Many people “want discipline” and come to karate to get it. Discipline cannot be learned simply by coming to classes a few times a week, when you feel like it. Discipline is learned when you don’t feel like going to practice, but you go anyway.
You should purchase a uniform (Gi) as soon as possible, once you have decided you want to continue practicing. Preparing for practice and putting on your uniform is part of the mental state of mind for practice. As stated earlier, your instructors do not earn a living from teaching Karate. Therefore, we do not sell uniforms. You can purchase uniforms at any martial arts store as long as it is karate uniform, white, without any logos.
Beginners who have not purchased a uniform yet should wear clothes suitable for physical activity, such as a t-shirt and shorts or sweat pants. Jeans are not acceptable.
Joining Shotokan Karate of America:
Students wishing to pursue the serious study of karate at Grand Junction Shotokan are required to join Shotokan Karate of America (www.ska.org). As a member of SKA, you may participate in kyu tests (tests for white and brown belt ranking) held twice a year in April and November.
Additional information about karate practice can be found at www.ska.org or follow our link above.
The books below are suggested reading for our students:
– Karate-do Kyohan by Gichin Funakoshi. This is the master text book which contains all of the forms that are practiced in Shotokan Karate.
– Karate-do, My Way of Life by Gichin Funakoshi. The autobiography of Master Funakoshi describes how he began karate practice, and his efforts to bring karate practice from Okinawa to Japan.